High COVID-19 cases cause postponing of winter sports season

Just four days before tryouts for winter sports were scheduled to begin, and all of them have been postponed until further notice. According to athletic director Jennifer Burks, the cause behind postponing winter sports is due to the terms set by the AIA for each sport. 

“They couldn’t start basketball and soccer unless we were at 100 cases per 100,000 or less,” Burks said, “and couldn’t start wrestling unless we were at 75 cases per 100,000.”

The numbers that are being observed in this case are not just the numbers of each school or each district, but the whole of Maricopa County. As of Nov. 4th, Maricopa County was at 115 cases per 100,000, which is what prompted the stop. 

For the senior athletes, hearing of this postponement was heavy on their hearts. “When I found out I was pretty upset, just cause it’s my senior year…I was looking forward to senior night and playing with all my friends for the last time before college,” senior soccer player Mikella Reed said.

If/when the season can start up again, athletes will not be taking the time they are given to play for granted. Reed says they plan on making the most out of the season by “thinking positive about every situation, making sure [they] are not taking things for granted anymore, and cherishing the time [they] do get.”

For the coaches, they are hoping to use this time for motivation and as a chance to build strength before the season. “We’ll keep working on conditioning and our skills and we’ll be ready to go when they let us play,” boys head basketball coach Sam Duane said.

As of now, practices and games are canceled, but open gyms are not. Burks explained, “We did not shut that down… that will be up to the coaches to decide if they’re going to do some open fields or open gym kinda thing.”

Duane has not planned any open gyms for the team and says “in the 6th-hour basketball locker [they] get a lot of work done, so we’ll be prepared.”

Considering what it takes for these sports to start back up, there is no saying how or when that will happen. Athletes and coaches all want to start playing as soon as possible, but they understand that this is being done for their own safety.

Burks says they are “going to go week by week, and as soon as we hit the correct metrics, we will open as soon as possible the following week.”

Nothing is set in stone for these athletes, hopes are high to return soon, but the metrics will need to get below 75 cases per 100000 to get all winter sports up and running again.